2 goals and 0 assists in 12 months – Arsenal unlikely to sign £325k p/w playmaker – opinion

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Arsenal have Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli who can operate out wide while Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard can operate in attacking-midfield, but Sport (h/t Sport Witness) claim the Gunners are interested in Philippe Coutinho.

The 29-year-old has struggled to command a starting place at Barcelona and is expected to be moved on as the Catalans need to cut their wage bill. Barca are in over £1bn worth of debt, so Coutinho’s £325k-per-week/£16.9m-a-year salary isn’t deemed worth paying if he isn’t delivering on the pitch.

The Brazilian international, who hasn’t represented his country since 2020, has made 16 appearances for Barcelona this season, scoring two goals without an assist. He’s got 12 months without creating a goal in La Liga for a teammate and hasn’t scored any more league goals since November 2020 either.

It’s easy to see why Barcelona want rid of the player they paid £121.5m for in 2018, but why would Arsenal then want to sign him? The Gunners already have underperforming talent that is eating up a lot of their wage bill – Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – so Coutinho may only add to their problems.

Not only would Coutinho be an expensive player to sign, especially with his form being patchy, Arsenal have better options in the squad. Odegaard has scored four goals with two assists in 17 games while Smith Rowe eight goals and two assists in 18 games.

Odegaard has created 28 chances while Smith Rowe has created 20 chances with 23 successful dribbles. Mikel Arteta should be content with what he’s got, so Sport’s claims probably don’t have a lot of truth to them.

Summary

Barcelona may be keen to sell Coutinho, but Arsenal are smart enough to avoid signing him in January. It doesn’t make business sense to bring the out-of-form playmaker to the Emirates stadium on a £325k-per-week wage, so the Gunners may turn their attentions elsewhere.